Rookie Cornett-Ching, veteran Hessert among 11 testers at Mobile

Rookie Cornett-Ching, veteran Hessert among 11 testers at Mobile

(TOLEDO, Ohio – March 7, 2015) – ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards veteran Tom Hessert and SCOTT Rookie contender Sarah Cornett-Ching were among 11 drivers who tested Saturday afternoon at Mobile Int’l Speedway in preparation for next Saturday’s (March 14) ARCA Mobile 200, the fourth annual at the historic southern Alabama half-mile short track.

Tom Hessert and Paul AndrewsHessert, in a Cunningham Motorsports Ford Fusion, got a jump on everyone, sliding in Friday, making it a two-day test for the Cherry Hill, New Jersey driver.

“We made a handful of runs yesterday, and with all the new rules packages, to be honest, I just didn’t know exactly where we were by the end of the day,” Hessert said. “I was a little concerned that we were off the mark, but today, when other cars showed up, I got my confidence back and realized we were pretty fast compared to the others.”

Hessert was testing the new ARCA Racing Series Composite Body.

“The new composite package looks absolutely awesome on the track; it’s just a lot different from the cockpit compared to what I’m used to. Everything about the inside is different…the visibility, the overall room you have…the windows are bigger…everything’s completely different inside the car. The perception of everything around you is different than it used to be. It’s cool. It looks great on the track.

“The engine runs great, but it’s certainly got a different feel to it. You’re talking about 75…7800 RPMs so they’re geared for more torque, but you don’t have that sudden acceleration…that instant acceleration. It’s not bad at all…it’s just different. You don’t have to modulate the throttle as much. It’s more of a momentum thing. I think race fans are going to love the whole package. We’re excited.”

British Columbia’s Cornett-Ching, who made her ARCA Racing Series debut at Daytona, took her first laps at Mobile. Cornett-Ching was utilizing the ARCA Ilmor 396, but in the steel-bodied car.

“The car drives a lot differently than I’m used to, but I didn’t think we were too far off,” Cornett-Ching said.

“Getting back on the throttle took some getting used to…I learned something new every time I went out. Both ends (of the track) are different. Felt like I was nailing one and two, but I’m still learning three and four. One and two was a bit sharper…you turn in right down to the bottom and get out off the corner quicker. Seemed like in three and four you had to hang in there longer to get your line to come off. I guess the biggest difference for me was the way you get off the corners.

“Back home, the car’s back tires were locked together so we ran a lot more stagger, so getting back on the throttle in our late model turns the car. You run minimal stagger on these (ARCA) cars. I found that if you feed the throttle in the center of the corner, it makes it push. You had to focus on rolling the car through the corners to get it to turn.

“The ARCA cars have a lot more brake than what I’m used to back home, so with the ARCA car, you can charge the corner harder. We’ll take it back to the shop and try to get the back of the car to turn better.

“I’m just going to focus on everything I learned today, process it, and bring it back. I feel like we have a pretty good jump on things. Tony’s (Blanchard/Crew Chief) talking about working on shock rebounds in the left rear…try to get the car to follow better through the corner.”Brandon Jones car shot at Mobile test 2015

The following drivers/cars participated in Saturday’s open test.

#2 – Sarah Cornett-Ching – Chevrolet – Steel Body – Ilmor
#6 – Josh Williams – Chevrolet – Steel Body – SB2
#9 – Thomas Praytor – Ford – Steel Body – D3
#22 – Kyle Weatherman – Dodge – Steel Body – R5
#25 – Brandon Jones – Toyota – Composite Body – Ilmor
#55 – Dominic Ursetta – Toyota – Steel Body – Ilmor
#58 – Michael Lira – Ford – Composite Body – Ilmor
#58 – David Levine – Ford – Composite Body – Ilmor
#77 – Tom Hessert – Ford – Composite Body – D3
#95 – Ronnie Osmer – Dodge – Steel Body – R5
#98 – Austin Wayne Self – Ford – Composite Body – Ilmor

Festivities for the ARCA Mobile 200 will officially get underway Thursday afternoon, March 12 when ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards teams assemble at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park for ARCA Fan Fest.

The ARCA Fan Fest at the USS Alabama is set for 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. and features an ARCA Racing Series driver autograph session from 5:00 – 6:00. The general public is encouraged to attend to meet and mingle with ARCA drivers and crew members. The same racecars that will be in action Friday and Saturday at the track will be on display. Media is also encouraged to attend.

From there, haulers will cast off from the Battleship in a hauler parade to Mobile International Speedway to prepare for Friday's on-track activity. The hauler parade will mark the beginning of the Causeway Seafood Jubilee as ARCA fans, teams, and drivers will enjoy the great seafood offered by restaurants on the Causeway.   

The Home Mortgage of America Green Flag Party will follow Thursday night with headliner Holli Mosley of Mobile. The venue has been changed to Holiday Inn Tillman’s Corner, the host hotel for the ARCA Mobile 200. Fans can expect to hear from Ronnie Bowman and fellow hit maker Mark Collie on Thursday night also. Bowman has written No. 1 songs for country music stars like Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney and Lee Ann Womack.

New Green Flag Corporate Partners, Mobile Shoe Hospital, Intertek and Shoreline Communication joined the ARCA Mobile 200 family.

On-track activities begin Friday with the first practice session from 2:30-3:15 p.m., followed by the second and final practice session from 4:15-5:00. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will take place at 7:00 Friday night. Raceday, Saturday, March 14 features an on-track autograph session from 12 noon-1:00 with driver introductions following at 1:30. Songwriter Ronnie Bowman is slated to sing the National Anthem just prior to the start of the ARCA Mobile 200, set to get the green flag at 2:00.

For ticket information, go to or call 251-343-2929.


Don Radebaugh

The fans loved Sarah here at Mobile. An hour and a half after the race, she's still signing autographs for the locals....

Tracey M.

Wow awesome race Sarah....

Tracey M.

Good luck Sarah... You can do it!!!

robert m.

I noticed that Tom Hessert was testing with a d3 engine.  Has he switched from llmor  to a ford engine because of his new deal with Rouse?

joe c.

Thanks for doing what you do Don its great to be able to keep up with everything that is going on in this series.

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